Can I Bring a Family Member to a Disability Hearing?

Do you have a Social Security disability hearing coming up? 

It is natural to feel nervous or apprehensive about your approaching disability hearing. Because of this, many of our clients ask if they can bring a family member or friend to the hearing for emotional support.

Here is what you need to know about having someone attend your hearing with you in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Can You Bring Someone to a Disability Hearing?

Many claimants want to bring a co-worker, caregiver, family member, or friend to testify as a witness at their disability hearing. Many claimants think that doing so will help the chances of their claim being approved. 

However, unless the claimant is a minor or has difficulties communicating due to their medical conditions, our disability attorneys generally do not recommend having someone other than the claimant testify at the hearing. The judge typically wants to hear information directly from the claimant, and the testimony of friends or family is usually therefore only repetitive to what the claimant has already testified to and is therefore unnecessary. The judge may also find that their testimony is biased toward the claimant and therefore give it little evidentiary weight.

But we understand that for most people, the idea of appearing before a judge in any context is nerve-wracking, or even scary. Because of this, you may want to bring a friend or family member along with you to the hearing office for emotional support. However, in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the judges will usually ask that unless such a person is going to give testimony at the hearing that they remain in the waiting room during the hearing itself. In very limited circumstances, your lawyer will be able to arrange with the judge for a friend or family member, who is not testifying, to sit with you in the hearing room during the actual hearing.

If the claimant is a minor, the parent or guardian should also bring along another trusted adult to sit with the child in the waiting room. Although the judge may want to meet and or even speak with the minor child (depending on their age and the nature of their disabilities), it is not normally appropriate for the parent or guardian to testify in front of the child (as what they need to say to the judge regarding the child’s medical conditions may be sensitive information that a child should not necessarily hear). Additionally, the child may become disruptive or noisy during a hearing, and in that case, would be asked by the judge to leave the room.

Social Security Disability Attorneys

The best person to have by your side at a Social Security disability hearing is an experienced and compassionate Social Security disability lawyer. They will prepare you for what to expect at the hearing, the questions that they or the judge will ask, and what will happen after the hearing has ended. They will write a pre-hearing brief to the judge, and make an opening and or closing argument to the judge explaining why you should be awarded the disability benefits. They will also be prepared to question a vocational expert witness and or medical expert witness at your hearing.

Have Questions? Speak to Attorney Sara J. Frankel today

Having a skilled Social Security disability attorney represent you during your hearing is the best thing you can do to ensure that your claim is approved. Sara J. Frankel is an experienced and respected disability benefits attorney that has been serving southeastern Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island communities since 1996. She previously worked as a staff attorney with the Social Security Administration and has extensive knowledge of the relevant laws and regulations governing disability benefits. She will find ways to strengthen your claim so that you are more likely to be awarded the benefits you deserve! Do not take any chances! Call Attorney Sara Frankel today.